My Private Frida
The other day I saw the exhibit of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s garden at the Bronx Botanical Garden. It was a perfect day spent in glorious weather with a new friend. She called it a “play date.” I’d call it a good day to go on a pilgrimage, the kind Chaucer wrote of in The Canterbury Tales centuries ago.
I’d been making pilgrimages to shrines of Frida Kahlo for a very long time, more than twenty-five years, from the day when from far across a slushy winter street a Frida Kahlo self-portrait on an Art in America magazine cover bewitched me. I crossed a network of intersections to get to the Out-Of-Town newsstand in Harvard Square to buy the magazine, although it was expensive, and I had never read it before. The subject of the cover story was an exhibit of Frida Kahlo’s work, at the Gray Gallery in New York. Like a magician’s stooge carrying out a post-hypnotic suggestion, I got on a Boston southbound train to see it.